Thursday, April 16, 2009

Butter Butts

Yellow-rumped Warblers (What were you thinking?) are not nesting residents here at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, but that does not prevent them from doning their breeding plummage prior to their trips north. The male in the image perched just outside our open office window. Maybe the cool air that we were enjoying was also delaying the Yellow-rumped Warbler's departure.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are common and easily-seen as they congregate in small flocks. They are likely the only warbler to be observed in the winter. In preparation for their trips north, they have been dining on a combination of berries and insects. They will nest in the norther coniferous and coniferous/deciduous forests. Unfortunately, in the east the species is a common cowbird host, which means they may raise a large cowbird chick instead of their own chicks.

Meanwhile, our resident songbirds are busy building their nests in the swamp and the neighboring forest. A pair of Prothonotary Warblers were seen pulling bill-stuffing quantities of liverwort from the bases of trees and cypress knees.

Maybe when all the Butter Butts depart, the warmer weather will finally set in!

Images by Mark Musselman

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